The PA-28-235 series began in 1964 with the Cherokee 235. One major selling point that dealers like to stress is that the aircraft can almost carry its own weight in useful load. Actually, it carries more in some configurations.
The 1973 model was dubbed the Cherokee Charger. The major alteration that year was a stretch of the fuselage, giving passengers an extra five inches of legroom. The useful load doesn’t equal the aircraft’s weight on this model, though that’s hardly worth mentioning when you consider what it carries, a whopping 1450 pounds. In case you’re wondering, that’s full fuel, 200 lbs. of baggage, and four passengers at just under 190 lbs. each.
The 1974 model was designated as the Cherokee Pathfinder. The biggest change was a redesign of the windows to reduce outside noise. One Cherokee pilot said, “as one who has spent more deafening hours behind the yoke of a Cherokee 235 than I can unclog my head to remember, I can say that the soundproofing option Piper offered this year is one no Pathfinder should leave the factory without. Cabin noise is cut considerably, and a comfortable conversation can be had at 75% power” (Bill Wilson, AOPA Pilot, May, 1974). Performance and load carrying capabilities were not significantly changed on this year’s model.
While the 235 models lose a little something in speed, as compared to retractables in the PA-28 series like the Arrow, their exceptional load carrying capacity and long-range capability more that make up for it.
The airplane is a four-place, low wing, single engine airplane equipped with tricycle landing gear, having a steerable nose wheel and two main wheels. All structures are of aluminum alloy.
This airplane is certified in the normal category. In the normal category all aerobatic maneuvers including spins are prohibited. The airplane is approved for day and night VFR/IFR operations when equipped in accordance with F.A.R. 91 or F.A.R 135.
The aircraft is powered by a Lycoming O-540-B4B5 six cylinder, normally aspirated, direct drive, air cooled, horizontally opposed, carburetor equipped engine rated at 235 horsepower. Major accessories include a geared starter, a 35-amp alternator, dual magnetos, vacuum pump drive, fuel pump, and a float carburetor. Exhaust gases are carried through a system constructed of heavy gauge stainless steel.
The two main inboard tanks, which hold 25 gallons each, are attached to the wing structure with screws and nutplates. The tip tanks are constructed of resin-impregnated fiberglass and hold 17 gallons each. Fuel quantity gauges for each of the four tanks are located in the engine gauge cluster on the instrument panel. Dual electric fuel pumps are provided for use in case of failure of the engine driven pump.
1964 Piper Cherokee 235 PA-28-235
1973 Piper Cherokee 235 Charger PA-28-235
1977 Piper Cherokee Pathfinder PA-28-235
541.5 cu. in.
Carbureted Or Fuel Injected
Fixed Pitch/ Constant Speed Propeller
Either option available
Min. Octane Fuel
Avg. Fuel Burn at 75% power in standard conditions per hour
Weights and Capacities:
Takeoff/Landing Weight Normal Category
Takeoff/Landing Weight Utility Category
Standard Empty Weight
Max. Useful Load Normal Category
Max. Useful Load Utility Category
Do Not Exceed Speed
Max. Structural Cruising Speed
Stall Speed Clean
Stall Speed Landing Configuration
Climb Best Rate
17 lbs./sq. ft.
17.7 lbs./sq. ft.
17.6 lbs./sq. ft.
12.4 lbs./sq. ft.
12.8 lbs./sq. ft.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.